Trent Branch continues to survive, and catering services are being maintained across all the sites, despite the number of staff who are being ‘pinged’ and forced to isolate: a pressure for both hospitals and suppliers. Our online meetings are a way for us all to have a bit of relaxation and share our experiences and news.
At our most recent meeting, we were pleased to have new members attending for the first time and also several members from other Branches joining us. Unfortunately, our planned presentation by Anglia Crown had to be cancelled, but we are hoping to rearrange this for a later date.
Following the formalities of the business meeting, we had our usual round-the-table discussion, which we call ‘You and your business’. This month saw a very wide variety of topics, including:
- a discussion about the introduction of digital menus, with many offers to share information between those who had done it and those who were wanting to do it
- sharing information about how to cope with less staff available to work
- input about the formulation of the Retail Best Practice Guide, which Stuart Wray is leading the working party on
- information from our trade members, who said the market is recovering well post-lockdown. There is plenty of stock available from all the suppliers, with some expanding so much that they are employing extra staff
- visits at several sites from environmental health officers, focusing on preparation for Natasha’s Law, Listeria, and catering staff footwear. Confirmation has been received that multi-portion food for ward service will not have to be labelled under Natasha’s Law because they are not served as a multi-portion to the patient, and
- who was stocking vegan sandwich fillings (Bidfood), the requirements for ethnic meals, and the need to check the protein levels of vegetarian and vegan meals (top tip: serve rice or pasta instead of mashed potatoes for an easy uplift in protein).
We now have a catering dietitian as a member who is a great addition to the Branch. She is working with her caterers to formulate a new menu aimed at Gestational Diabetes. Work is ongoing with an instant soup manufacturer to develop a soup with sufficient nutrition content to support patients with a limited appetite.
Some readers will remember Andrew Gamon, a life member of our Branch. He wants to be remembered to everyone, and sends his best wishes to everyone still working in NHS catering.